1. How the little interview bits with Alex work
When you audition, you fill out a set of five sample stories that might be good for the contestant interviews during the show. These are only used at the audition, I'm assuming to see how you respond to questions and how you deal with talking out loud in front of others.
When you're booked, in addition to the ten-page non-disclosure and release form (which says you won't spill the beans about any show results, lest they take away your winnings, and allows them to use your image from the show in perpetuity throughout the universe on any media in existence or yet to be invented (really)), you fill out more stories and questions and other little tidbits. What's an unusual talent or trait? I enjoy using phrases that went out of style half a century ago. What's one of your earliest memories? I bit a kid at Chuck E. Cheese. Any interesting travel experiences? I went to Space Camp with Chelsea Clinton. And so on.
When you arrive in the green room, contestant coordinator Tony Pandolfo has a card with four of your stories selected from the many, many nuggets you've provided. He will ask you to select one of them to be highlighted. On my first day, Alex was not going with what people had selected. This is not uncommon, I guess, so you have to know what's on the card and be ready to chitchat about any of the stories. I had picked the story about writing for The Onion, and he didn't get around to it until my third game, after talking about Al Italia losing my luggage and talking about improv on national TV.
2. What I'm Doing With My Winnings
Details haven't been worked out, but roughly the following:
- Other taxes.
- A second bathroom, upstairs.
- A nice TV. Not too big.
Also, they tell you to expect your winnings from 90-120 days after taping (so, end of April to end of May), but the sheets you sign for your prizes in each game say it may be as late as 120 days after airing (end of July). So I haven't joined a sushi of the week club just yet (incidentally, if I ran such a club, Unagi would be the sushi of the week every week except for special weeks reserved for Otoro. Om nom nom nom.).
3. What are the eligibility requirements referenced in the end credits of the show?
I don't think I know all of them, but they include: being 18 years or older, not having appeared on any other game show in the past year, not being a candidate for public office (interesting note: John McCain was a contestant back in the Art Fleming days before he went to Vietnam), I have never been convicted of a felony, I'm not being paid to plug anything, I'm not competing against anyone I know without telling the producers so beforehand, and so on.
Back in the 80s, a woman named Barbara Lowe won five games and thus qualified for the Tournament of Champions, but before the ToC came around, it was discovered that she was ineligible to play on the show (I think because she'd been on another show under a different name in the preceding year). I believe her winnings were withheld, and I know she wasn't allowed in the Tournament.
4. Shameless Self-Promotion: The Online Jeopardy Community
There are two sites that track what's going down on Jeopardy on a daily basis. The first, which I've referenced before, is the J! Archive, which posts every clue every day, and basically allows you to read the entire game from start to finish, and track each player's every move:
Second, Game Show Kingdom is a fellow blogspot blog that recaps various game shows every day. Their summaries are like SportsCenter highlights, with a mix of fact and commentary. Each entry has Jeopardy down near the bottom:
5. Shameless Self-Promotion: The Press
I've gotten ink in a handful of random locations, including the US Congressional newspaper The Hill (due to my opponent Meg being a staffer for Sen. Lautenberg). But I wanted especially to mention one in particular, which was that my Great Uncle Cork in Michigan was very sweet to send a notice to the Grand Haven Tribune about my appearance.
6. One more random story
During the pre-rehearsal meetings on the second day, one contestant went into the restroom in the green room, and came out looking a little frantic. This person ran to their bag and pulled out a stack of flash cards. Somebody asked if anything was wrong.
"I can't remember who wrote Heart of Darkness!"
The rest of the room chimed in with "Joseph Conrad," and this person was relieved when they found the card they were looking for, confirming they'd covered this.
I think we all knew the feeling: that one piece of information we would need would elude us at a crucial moment. I know I wish I'd flipped through my wallet just before I went on again.
Barring my getting into the Tournament next year, that's the end of the road for my Jeopardy experience, for now. Thanks to all the far-flung family, friends, classmates, friends, and acquaintences who have cheered me on and sent their congratulations. I've tried to reply to any direct questions I've received, but I'm sure I missed some along the way. In any case, thank you for your support, and for reading.
Typically sporadic posting on a variety of nerdy topics will resume presently.